Re: CB&Q boxcar colour - Delano images?

Robert kirkham

Good thing no one is suggesting oversimplification.


On Oct 22, 2020, at 1:03 PM, Nelson Moyer <npmoyer@...> wrote:

Photos are good for weathering, chalk marks, etc. but not so good for color. There are two basic approaches to painting freight cars, paint for a new car paint job and weather according to age after painting and car usage, or paint to resemble faded oxidized paint and weather from there. Obviously the first approach requires more fading and weathering effort for an old paint heavily used look. I use the first approach, paint as new, and do the fading and weather later, or not for some cars.


As for freight car reds and browns, by far the most accurate paints are from Tru Color because they went to great effort to hire color consultants with access to prototype railroad color drift cards, and they matched their colors to the prototype as closely as possible. If you want the new paint look use Tru Color. If you want faded oxidized paint, it really doesn’t matter that color use as long as you’re in the right red or brown family.


Then there is the topcoat issue. Prototype freight cars aren’t dead flat when newly painted, despite the fact that model railroad tradition demands a flat finish, typically Dullcote. Lately, it’s not uncommon to see various degrees of paint shine from fairly glossy to satin and flat, again depending upon the car age since last painting. Tru Color dries glossy, which means you don’t have to spray a gloss coat before decaling – one less step than using a flat freight car color. I use semi-gloss, satin, and flat clear coats to provide another indication of age since painting.


Be aware that some acrylic clear coats cloud paint color, whereas lacquers typically don’t cloud the color. Future is an exception to the acrylic clouding issue.


Then there’s the issue of color temperature of layout lighting, which has been exhaustively discussed here, so look at the archives. Your freight car reds and browns will look quite different under warm lighting than under cool lighting. I use 5000 K lights with a high CRI index for true color rendition.


Color rendition of film has already been discussed. Time of day and sun angle were not mentioned, but they affect color, as does atmospheric haze, etc., etc.


So selecting paint colors by matching color photographs is a gross oversimplification, especially with color photographs from the 1940s and 1950s.


Nelson Moyer


From: [] On Behalf Of Robert kirkham
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2020 2:06 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] CB&Q boxcar colour - Delano images?


Fair enough.  But I like to start with a photo and go from there.  One of my challenges is that 1950’s paint isn’t a great reference for my 1946 model era.  And my other challenge is that I wasn’t born yet, and have no memories from that time - so need to start somewhere. 


I found one image so far this morning:   There, in the middle distance, behind the concrete block building, is a CB&Q single sheathed car.  I find the comparison with what is shown on other cars in this yard view helpful modelling information.  



On Oct 22, 2020, at 11:40 AM, Bill McClure <virginianbill@...> wrote:




I know nothing about those cars, but do know a little about photography. So I pass along that the color palette of WWII era Kodachrome, which was the slide film stock used back then, had a very warm tone, towards the red end of the spectrum. The images are beautiful, but if looking for color "accuracy", just be aware.


Then there is the "color" that your monitor "sees". Whole 'nother issue.





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